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Berlin-Schönefeld International Airport (IATA-Code: SXF, sometimes written Schoenefeld or Schonefeld) is Berlin's second-largest airport and is located on the southeastern edge of Berlin. Formerly East Berlin's main airport, following re-unification it lost much of its traffic to the former West Berlin's Tegel, but in recent years it has grown as a hub for low-cost / no-frills carriers and is now in the process of being expanded to become the city's main and only airport, to be known as Berlin Brandenburg International (BBI).
Although located outside Berlin's boundaries, Schönefeld nevertheless provides easy access to the city centre (and is far more convenient than many airports in many other cities).
Access by train (S-Bahn, regional trains and U-Bahn)
NOTE: Due to the ongoing rolling stock problems with Berlin's S-Bahn, services on the S45 have been suspended and only the S9 is running, at 20 minute intervals. Other services including regional trains and BVG buses are not affected - please take this into account when selecting a public transport route.
The best way to get to and from Schönefeld is by train. The station - Flughafen Berlin-Schönefeld - is located a 5-10 minute walk from the terminal buildings along a half-covered walkway (400 meters / quarter of a mile). The station is served by both the S-Bahn (lines S45 and S9) and by regional trains (RE7 and RB14).
Note that before the construction of the covered walkway, a free shuttle bus was operated between the terminal building and the station. This bus service has been discontinued.
Map of public transport routes from Schönefeld Airport station
The dotted line shows the S-Bahn extension currently under construction to the new BBI airport station, scheduled to open in 2012.
The regional trains RE7 and RB14 provide the easiest and quickest route into the city centre, running over the central Stadtbahn and stopping at Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrasse, Berlin-Hauptbahnhof and Zoo Station. These trains run at 30 minute intervals, and take around 20 minutes to reach Alexanderplatz.
Note that Schönefeld Station is somewhat spartan, retaining much of its original GDR character. Access to the platforms is via an underground passageway; there are no lifts or escalators, but all platforms and the underground entrance are accessible via ramps.
Access by bus
BVG buses run to and from Schönefeld. Buses arrive and depart directly in from of the main terminal building. These are mainly useful for local locations in the south of Berlin. Both the X7 and Bus 171 stop at Rudow (U7) which is about 10 minutes from Schönefeld. There is also a night bus N7.
There is also a semi-commercial express bus SXF1 which runs every 20 minutes to Südkreuz station, which offers good connections to some central Berlin locations such as Potsdamer Platz. The fare is €6, but this price includes a Berlin-zone ABC ticket covering onwards public transportation from Südkreuz.
Public transport fares
All the above public transport options (except the SXF1 bus) are covered by a unified fare scheme - to get to the centre of Berlin (VBB fare zone A) the minimum ticket required will be a Berlin zone A/B/C ticket ("Einzelfahrausweis ABC") which at the time of writing (February 2011) costs €3.00 (€2.10 concessions).
Tip: purchase public transport tickets in the airport terminal buildings. Facilities at the station are limited and hard to find.
By taxi to and from Schönefeld
Taxis are of course available at Schönefeld, and can be picked up outside the terminal building. A trip to the city centre will set you back somewhere in the region of €25 - €35. Make sure to get a Berlin taxi (look for a single "B" as the first letter on the license plate) - drivers from the surrounding Brandenburg region may be willing to take your fare, but might not be familiar with Berlin.
The airport website has a useful overview of public transport options.
Schönefeld is home to the Berlin Air Show (ILA).